Endovelicus

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Endovelicus (Endovélico in Portuguese, also Endouellicus), was an Iron Age god of public health and safety, worshipped in pre-Roman and Roman Lusitania and Gallaecia. He was associated with chthonic oracles and healing, and was probably the recipient of pig sacrifices. After the Roman invasion, his cult spread to most of the Roman Empire, but was always most popular in the Roman provinces of Lusitania (covering part of what is now Portugal) and Betica (located in Southern Spain). Thus he is considered part of the Roman mythology and the related Lusitanian and Gallaecian mytology.

Endovelicus has a temple in São Miguel da Mota in Alentejo, Portugal, and there are numerous inscriptions and ex-votos dedicated to him in the Museu Etnológico de Lisboa (the Ethnological Museum of Lisbon). The cult of Endovelicus prevailed until the 5th century, just when Christianity was spreading in the region.

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Endovelicus was a supreme solar healing god, thus a god of Medicine. Some suspect he was also a god who wore several faces, one of which may have been an "infernal" one, since all solar gods went down to the infernos and returned with healing power.

After receiving certain rites, if a person or priest slept in his sanctuary, Endovelicus would talk to them in their dreams and even tell them about their own future or offer advice.

Endovelicus also protected the cities or region that venerated him. The epithets given to Endovelicus are deus, sanctus, prarsentissimus and preaestantissimus. These suggest that the god was effective, and always present and living on the sanctuary. Votive altars suggest that the god inspired the early Lusitanian resistance against the Romans.

The name

In the 19th century, António da Visitação Freire classified the name of "Endovelicus" as a mixed Celtic and Phoenician name, adapted to the Roman language. The End- radical would be from Celtic languages; Bel (or Vel-) would be Phoenician for Lord and - Cus a usual word termination in Latin. José Leite de Vasconcelos believed the word Endovellicus was originally Celtic, Andevellicos, meaning very good.

Temples and cult

As a powerful Lusitanian God, the Romans also adopted it and his cult spread to other regions of the Empire.

In the municipality of Alandroal, there is the Santuário da Rocha da Mina (Mina's Rock Sanctuary); some authors classify it as a temple of Endovelicus. It is the only known place of this kind in Southern Portugal. Near the temple, we can find the Lucefecit rivulet that has been associated with Lucifer since the Middle Ages. Lucifer was the name used by the Romans for the Morning star and the goddess Venus. Some authors connect the name of the rivulet with the meaning of the place as being the "Glimpse of Light". A kilometer away, there is a sacred fountain that is said to be more ancient than the temple; its waters are still considered medicinal.

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